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At what point do you give up on a friend?

*Discussion about substance abuse and mental illness/suicide attempts

I have one friend, who we'll call Emma, whose issues go beyond just substance abuse and I'm not sure how to deal with her at this point. I became instantly very close with Emma when I moved out west and we had a ton of fun together, however, it was pretty evident that she could not control her drinking or her drug use. She has tried to kill herself a couple of times and jokes about only having a few more years to live because she's going to join the 27 club. I've called the police on her, I've talked her off a pier over the phone while I was living on the east coast, I have carried her out of parties. We've talked about it before and I know she has a lot of trauma in her past, she knows she has a lot of trauma in her past, she keeps paying lip service to getting help, but then never does.

One of the self-destructive (and socially destructive) things she does is use sex as a gauge for her self worth, and use it to measure her worth against other girls. If she can be the first girl in a scene or a group to fuck a new dude, in her mind, that makes her forever superior to any girl who he has sex with after her. If she can fuck a girl's ex-boyfriend, she is better than that girl because he wants Emma instead of her. This becomes a bigger issue when she starts getting insecure about herself in relation to her friends. She fucked our friend's ex-boyfriend at a party our friend brought her to. She fucked the guy that her teenage coworker told her she had a huge (soul crushing teenage angsty) crush on. She fucked my roommate's ex-boyfriend who she had no interest in until she found out who he was. I generally lose a lot of respect for guys who sleep with her because she's almost always exceptionally messed up on something (however, she is really sexually aggressive so I can see why there would be no perception of a consent issue) she has a reputation for having "issues". So, at this point, you can probably see where this is going.


I had a really nice vacation romance with one of my former (and her current) coworkers this past summer. We'll call him Peter. Peter helped me get over being messed up about my last boyfriend and reminded me how wonderful mutual genuine affection and admiration can be. I am not currently living on the west coast so I had no illusions that this could be a long-term thing, but our... whatever it was, still meant a lot to me and we still talk occasionally. I called Emma for her birthday recently and we talked for a long time, I told her about how I still thought about Peter and that I was excited that I would get to see him this spring (he'll be in town for a family reunion). She told me that she was happy that I got to have that with him (... even though while it was happening she said "This isn't fucking fair, I knew him first", FORESHADOWING).

Yesterday I sent her a "remember when..." text about one of the first times her and I hung out. She texted me back "I fucked Peter the other day".

Uh, ok.

So. Ya. I know that I'm not really allowed to be angry because two consenting adults blah blah blah, I do not have dibs on him because you cannot have dibs on a person who is not your partner. However, I'm annoyed. I'm less annoyed today than I was yesterday, I'm more just disappointed today. This is not the first time she's pulled this on me either, she tried to get with my old roommate who I used to hook-up with, she tried to get with this artist who I dated who really hurt me, and she threw herself at my Big Feelings ex-boyfriend. She tried to fuck a musician who I love (who she had never heard of until I told her I loved his music the day before) at an after party she piggy-backed on for fucks sake.


I just don't know where to go from here. I don't know the next time I'll be back on he west coast, so I do have the benefit of a couple thousand kilometers between us. However, she still calls me in crisis situations, and just because all of these people live in a different city, doesn't mean their lives and my relationships with them cease to exist in my reality. She may be coming to visit here as well as her sister now lives in my current city.

The picture that I paint of our friendship here is pretty bleak, but like in all of these kind of situations, the good times are really good. At what point do you stop forgiving terrible behaviour from friends even when you know it's rooted in psychological trauma and very likely mental illness? Like, even as I type this I'm moving into the just feeling sorry for her stage. All of our friends know she has a problem. Everyone knows something should be done. Everyone keeps enabling her.


Have you ever had an Emma? Better yet, have you ever been an Emma?

Thanks if you made it all the way through this post, I know it was a doozie. Also, just in case, please no main paging this, dear All-Powerful Main Page Sharers. I don't know how long I'll leave this up...

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